The latest IRN100 list of the world’s largest equipment rental companies – based on rental revenues in 2012 - saw an overall increase in revenues of 8.7% compared to 2011, after adjusting for currency fluctuations.

North American companies grew on average by 11% last year, while those in the rest of the world – Asia, Middle East, South America and Australia – grew by 12.5%. In contrast, the revenues of the top 50 equipment rental companies in Europe rose by 5.6%.

The survey, published in the June issue of International Rental News (IRN) magazine, confirms the worldwide trends in rental last year, with North America and developing regions growing fastest and Europe performing more sluggishly.

The 5.6% growth in Europe may be half that of the rest of the world, but it is higher than the general rental growth rate in Europe, reflecting the faster-than-average growth and acquisition activities of the region's largest players.

The survey was topped by United Rentals with revenues of almost €3 billion, which included an eight month contribution from the RSC Equipment Rental business acquired at the end of April.

New entrants to the list included two Caterpillar dealers, Zahid Tractor from Saudi Arabia at number 55 and Madisa of Mexico at 91. UK tool hire company Jewson Tool Hire, ranked 88, is also a new entrant.

The IRN100 survey in the June issue can be downloaded free of charge from the www.khl.com website. Users must register for the digital issue, at no cost, before downloading the issue or viewing using the online reader. (Register at www.khl.com/subscriptions.)

The top 25 investors in the list spent €6.3 billion gross on their rental fleets in 2012, a 10.5% increase over 2011 and representing an average of 31% of their annual revenues for the year.

Investment data from smaller companies in the list, although not complete, indicates an even higher spending rate, equivalent to 37% of revenues. Of the 45 companies in the IRN100 who provided CapEx data for 2012, average spending was 34% of revenues.

Replacement spending is at a high level in some areas of the world – notably North America and Japan – but was increasing at a slower rate last year after a doubling of spending in 2010 and 2011.

A third of the €6.3 billion expenditure was accounted for by four US companies – United Rentals, Sunbelt Rentals, Hertz and H&E Equipment. United alone invested €963 million.

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